As part of a comprehensive schedule of hearings conducted by the State of New York to determine its strategic energy plans, Atlantic Sea Island has provided Paterson administration officials with a comprehensive briefing on the role of the company's proposed LNG transfer station some 13.5 miles distant off the Long Island coast but close enough to the region's enormous demand for energy in the tri-state area.
Ronald Lukas, Vice President, Gas Supply for Atlantic Sea Island Group, presented the firm's proposal, using his 39 years in the energy business, and 28 years of experience with KeySpan, to provide a framework for how the off shore LNG facility would work within the state's energy master plan.
He testified, "The state is encouraging investment in new gas related infrastructure to reliably meet expected increases in demand in the downstate area. We believe that our innovative project is consistent with the objectives set forth in the Energy Plan by introducing a new supply source directly into the New York area which will help relieve existing system capacity constraints, increase gas system reliability, and lower natural gas prices."
Lukas also stated that the economic benefits that construction of Atlantic Sea Island Group's project will bring to the local economy in the form of direct job creation, investment and other financially beneficial impact will directly address the double digit unemployment that is devastating organized labor.
Energy, Environment & Administration
"Most important," testified Lukas, "I want to emphasize our commitment to building a project that is environmentally responsible. Our goal is to employ ecologically friendly technology to build the island and to operate it after construction is complete. For instance, with respect to regasification we plan to use ambient air equipment with fresh water discharge as opposed using sea water based process. Other options being considered are the use of low emission tugs and LNG ships as well."
Lukas told the state that this project is consistent with the nation's goal of developing a new energy economy. He noted that many energy experts and environmental groups agree that natural gas will play an important role as a bridge supply until renewable energy resources are fully developed in the decades to come. "Natural gas produces fewer emissions than other fossil fuels. For instance, the combustion of natural gas emits almost 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and just under 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal. Natural gas also supports the expansion of distributed generation and can be used to fuel busses and other fleet vehicles," he said.
Atlantic Sea Island Group proposes to construct, own and operate a liquefied natural gas or LNG terminal called "Safe Harbor Energy" (Project). In its first phase Safe Harbor Energy will be capable of delivering up to 1 BCFD of a new and reliable supply of clean burning, cost-effective, and globally sourced natural gas directly to the New York metropolitan region via an existing offshore section of the Transco pipeline. While ASIG is a terminal company, an essential objective of the project is to have LNG suppliers dedicate supplies on a long-term basis for delivery to our terminal.
The Safe Harbor Energy Facility will include construction of an island and terminal 13.5 miles south of the city of Long Beach, New York. Initially the terminal will include over 7 billion cubic feet (bcf) of storage capability which will help meet demand for gas on the coldest days of the winter even when sea or weather conditions may prevent LNG carrier deliveries. Safe Harbor ultimately will have the capability of delivering up to 2 bcfd and storage capacity expanded to 15 bcf.
"We believe the unique location of the terminal so far off shore yet near to the gas market makes it the best and perhaps only place to locate an LNG facility to supply New York State. The offshore island concept represents a safe, secure, and environmentally sensitive approach to meeting energy demand. The placement of the island terminal in an off-shore location provides for easy access for LNG tankers to dock and unload their cargo in a safe environment. The terminal will be close to established international shipping lanes and will reduce vessel traffic and congestion into New York Harbor," Lukas explained.
License and permit applications have been submitted to the appropriate federal and state agencies and the project is in the agency review stage of development. The approval process is public and to date no substantive issues have been raised that we believe would prevent its approval. As part of the review process an environmental impact statement, as required under NEPA, is being prepared by the US Coast Guard and US Maritime Administration with full public disclosure and coordination with New York State agencies and legislators.
The State Report on energy infrastructure
Calling attention to the state's Natural Gas Assessment section of their 2009 Draft Energy Plan Lukas said their project is consistent with, and endorses, their conclusion that states:
"The State should take specific steps to encourage investment in natural gas infrastructure, including LNG facilities, that could supply future downstate requirements consistent with the State's planning objectives by: (i) providing project developers rigorous, pre-application, all-agency evaluations of state and local project siting, environmental and safety concerns, and (ii) maximizing agency coordination during permitting proceedings."
Atlantic Sea Island also commended the statement in the Natural Gas section that says:
"Having the flexibility to be able to accept LNG imports could provide New York with added supply access and options that could serve to put downward pressure on prices in the future, particularly during periods of high demand."
Lukas says the Energy Plan recognizes that New York State needs BOTH gas supply and pipeline infrastructure. "Even assuming gas supply from shale formations prove to be as abundant and economical as some seem to suggest, a postulation that is unproven especially with respect to development costs, decline rates and environmental impacts, a tremendous amount of delivery infra structure would still need to be built to bring gas to the companies, homes and factories that comprise our economy. Developing new sources of supply alone without developing the infra structure to bring it to customers, or vice versa, would not be an optimal solutions to New York's energy needs," he said.
The Atlantic Sea Island Group, LLC is a consortium of private investors active in financing and development of energy and infrastructure projects.